CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION
CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION
What We Know Today
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys in the U.S. experience sexual abuse by the age of 18.1
90 percent of children who are abused know the abuser.
There are more than 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S. Yet, many child victims may never disclose their abuse.
1 in 5 children is solicited sexually on the Internet before the age of 18.
Yet, when adults collectively understand the risks and red flags of child sexual abuse, we can do more to keep kids safe. When we all take action, abuse is preventable.
Our Commitment to Child Protection
As a youth-serving organization that reaches 8 million children and teens every year, the Y’s most important work is creating safe environments for young people. That any child or teen would experience harm in our care is unacceptable. Ensuring the safety and well-being of young people is foundational to everything we do at the Y to help them learn, grow and thrive.
How We Create Safe Spaces for Children and Teens
As an organization, we have taken the following actions to keep kids safe in our Y facilities, camps and programs and maintain the reputation of safety we have built during our 175-year history.
All Ys in the U.S. are required to implement child sexual abuse prevention practices and policies to remain a member in good standing with the National Council of YMCAs. These requirements include:
Completing a child abuse prevention self-assessment, administered by a Y-USA–approved vendor, at least every two (2) years
Having a policy that requires criminal background checks for staff and volunteers
Providing and requiring training for staff and volunteers on preventing and responding to child abuse
Requiring staff and volunteers to report child abuse in accordance with applicable laws
Having a policy that requires screening all adults against a national sex offender registry and written protocol for how to respond when adults are identified as registered sex offenders
Reporting the following events to Y-USA:
Allegations and/or criminal charges of child abuse, child sexual exploitation, or child sexual misconduct involving a current or former YMCA staff, volunteer, or member (including incidents related to the YMCA and outside of the YMCA)
Allegations of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or sexual misconduct between youth participants in attendance at a YMCA and/or enrolled in YMCA activities.
YMCAs have access to resources to assist them in meeting these requirements. Provided by and facilitated by Y-USA, these resources are accessible through Link, our internal knowledge-sharing platform for YMCA staff.
The YMCA has partnered with Five Days of Action and Darkness to Light to bring the Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training to our communities. Our Y is working with our staff and our members to keep our children safe. When adults actively seek to make a difference, a cultural change can occur. We’re working to shift from a norm where child sexual abuse is kept in fear and denial and children are easy targets, to a community where every child is protected through a community of trained and aware adults.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The YMCA Of Youngstown is joining with YMCAs from all across the country for Five Days of Action to raise awareness about how to prevent child sexual abuse.
We want all children to be safe. The safety and protection of children and teens in our care is our primary concern. Thank you for joining us in raising awareness to keep kids safe!
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
You do not need proof that abuse is occurring to make a report, only reasonable suspicion. Reporting child sexual abuse is key in preventing and intervening in abuse.
If a child discloses abuse to you:
- Give attention, compassion, and belief.
- Listen calmly and openly.
- Don’t fill in gaps.
- Don’t ask leading questions about the details.
- Ask open-ended questions like, “What happened next?”
- Don’t overreact.
- Say, “I believe you” and “what happened is not your fault.”
If you believe someone is being sexually abused at the YMCA of Youngstown, please contact the following people so we can take action:
Beth Scheller, COO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Grantonic, Executive Branch Director Davis, email@example.com
Shawn Armstrong, Executive Branch Director Central, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Parker, Executive Branch Director Camp Fitch, email@example.com
Nikki Murray, Day Camp and Youth & Teen Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, contact the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services Hotline at 1-877-644-6562
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
Call or text 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453). Professional crisis counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 170 languages. All calls are confidential. The hotline offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources.